Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Is it critical to use the term 'schizophrenic patient'?

A comment on my previous post (as does a tweet from Jacqui Dillon) takes me to task for using the term 'schizophrenic patient'. But, is it such a crime? I am a doctor and I do see patients. I don't think the term 'patient' should be monopolised by biomedicine.

Patients may also be diagnosed as schizophrenic. Of course there is an issue about what this means. The point I was making in the post is that schizophrenia cannot be diagnosed from a brain scan, and even the most biomedical of psychiatrists, such as E Fuller Torrey and Stephen Stahl (see previous post) agree with that. This message needs to be understood more widely. Public perception is often that schizophrenia can be diagnosed from a scan.


Chrys Muirhead said...

I thought it was the 'schizophrenic' tag that was the problem and not the patient bit.

The problem with labelling someone as schizo-anything is that the label sticks and pervades all the medical notes written about us, and I can testify to this. It sticks like glue even if a wrong label. And does us no favours.

For the diagnosing of mental illness is all about power and relationship and nothing about science, in my opinion. It sets us apart from others, stigmatises us and makes us less than equal.

Regardless of a scan being able to diagnose mental illness we still are diagnosed as mentally ill. How about a better way of working with people in mental distress? Getting rid of the labels and diagnoses, pathologising and risk assessing. Transforming psychiatry into something more human.

Or am I being naive?

Jonathan Gadsby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In my view the problem with the term schizophrenic is that it implies that it is an identity. While in reality it is not. The person is just experiencing certain symptoms. His identity did not change.
David van den Berg

DerryHunter said...

Professionals just need to look at how people are feeling (whether it be hearing voices, anxiety, delusions or psychosis etc) and treat those signs of distress sympathetically. Clustering these 'symptoms' into unhelpful labels creates stigma for people already suffering from effects of trauma. Joe Public assumes a 'schizophrenic' is a murderer thanks to the continual media portrayals.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, I'm always going to reserve the term "I am a doctor" for people who diagnose, treat and heal human bodies.

I say thankfully because I'm glad I quit regarding people who don't do that as real doctors.

When many of these people had the "patient" identity FORCED on them by laws you have admitted you support, that becomes a further reason why I take issue with your use of "schizophrenic patient".

Torrey is not "the most biomedical". He's the most fake biomedical.

He has not demonstrated any biological diseases, yet couches himself in biological ephemera, dead brains, and so on.

Anonymous said...

In Australia the public isn't under the impression that brain scans can diagnose schizophrenia as MRI etc is never used here for patients deemed with schizophrenia diagnosis-it's all subjectively based interview based on DSM categorising.